Activists appear to have taken a vow of silence ahead next week’s 13F filing deadline. Elliott Management was the outlier in a relatively quiet week for activist campaigns after building a significant stake in biotechnology company BioMarin Pharmaceutical. Reuters reports that the status of conversations between BioMarin and Elliott are unknown, and right now, there’s no insight into potential demands. Still, BioMarin is in the midst of a CEO transition and speculation has mounted as to whether the company could become a takeover target, so this will be one to watch. Elliott has aggressively pushed healthcare companies recently, including its summer campaign against Catalent where the fund gained four board seats and the company announced it would explore strategic options.
Another trend to watch for ahead of the 13F deadline is continued interest in the insurance industry from activist investors. New analysis points to an increasing number of activist campaigns targeting insurers. Despite the regulated nature of the insurance business, some insurers have struggled to adapt to more weather-related disasters and have traded at a discount – resulting in more activists pouncing. Since 2019, campaigns involving insurers have increased each year and 2023 has proven no different as the number of campaigns targeting insurance companies is on pace to beat 2022 levels.
Meanwhile this week, GPPers attended the IR Magazine & Governance Intelligence M&A Forum, which focused on expectations of M&A in 2024, navigating the regulatory landscape, and best practices for unlocking deal value. Speakers there noted that IPOs appear to be “back on ice,” as we enter the holiday season and IPO roadshows are slowing down. Despite conversations of “sleepless nights ahead” for dealmakers, it wasn’t all doom and gloom. Speakers were cautiously optimistic as we enter the new year for a few reasons, most notably: the record amount of dry powder that could be deployed, mainly through M&A and IPOs. That doesn’t mean there will be a gold rush. This mirrored a similar sense of cautious optimism at the Reuters NEXT conference in New York City, where Goldman Sachs’ global M&A co-head Stephan Feldgoise sees the lack of market stability leading to a stop-and-go deal market. “I’m reasonably bullish that [deals] will return, but obviously it will be in fits and starts,” he told Reuters’ Anirban Sen.
Have a great weekend,